So, you’ve been thinking about jumping into the housing market and buying your first home. You’ve already played around with an online mortgage payment calculator to get a range of how much mortgage you can afford and now you’re just wondering if you have to put any money down. Knowing your options is key to being able to buy as quickly as possible.
The first task is to create a plan. You need to know where you’re going so you can successfully plot your course. Let’s assume you’d like to purchase a home with a sales price of $250,000. Sometimes a down payment of at least 3% is required, but sometimes, it isn’t.
There is a whole lot of math involved in this process and things can get a bit overwhelming if you let all those numbers come at you without a plan of attack. We’ve come up with some simple steps to show you how easy it is to get that downpayment for your future forever home... it won’t take you 5 years to get there.
You may qualify for a VA loan if you’re an active-duty service member, member of the National Guard, veteran or the spouse of a deceased veteran. VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and are a great option if you want to buy a home with no down payment! VA loans also allow you to pay a one-time or finance VA funding fee that’s a small percent of your loan value so you don’t have to have mortgage insurance.
A USDA loan is a loan backed by the United States Department of Agriculture. The government offers USDA loans to encourage development in rural and suburban areas. In order to encourage people to move into more rural areas, you can get a USDA loan with $0 down. USDA loans also have lower fees than other types of loans.
Both you and your home must meet a few criteria to qualify for a USDA loan. First, your home must be in a rural or suburban area. Check out the USDA’s map of eligible areas to find out if the area you’re looking in qualifies. On this map, anywhere outside of an orange zone qualifies as a rural area. In addition, your home cannot be a working farm, it must be a single-family unit and you must live in the home as your primary residence. You also need to meet a few financial requirements to qualify.
The Verity Group can help you connect with a lender to find out if you meet the qualifications for one of these types of loans.
Relatives (or even Friends) Can Gift Funds to Help Save for a Downpayment
Lenders usually allow borrowers to use monetary gifts from family for a portion of the down payment. Typically, a Gift Letter is required from the family member who is giving the gift.
Consider (Temporarily) Redirecting Your Retirement Savings
Another opportunity for down payment savings is to redirect a portion of your monthly retirement savings toward your down payment. Your retirement savings are an investment in your future, but so is owning a home. Using your retirement savings or 401k to buy a home is another temporary measure and if it doesn’t jeopardize your retirement in any way, it could be a great way to help you reach your downpayment goal even faster. Just make sure that after you reach your downpayment goal that you start putting money back towards your retirement.
Track Every Dime You Spend
Be watchful of places where there may be savings waiting to happen. Have you been thinking about trading in your old car for a newer model? See if you can put it off for after you buy your home and instead put that money into your down payment savings account. Nowadays, there are quite a number of apps that can help you track your spending. Mint, Wally, and MVelopes are just a few examples of what a budgeting app can offer you. Check out your App Store and you’ll find hundreds...you’re bound to see one that fits exactly what you need.
There are many ways you can save for a downpayment to buy a home. The trick is to have a plan in place and find ways to save that will work for you. It’ll take time and determination, but soon you’ll be sipping coffee from your new back deck and then all the effort that went into accumulating your down payment will have been worth it.